The Eagle Blog

Personal Accountability

You are Responsible for youWe are all responsible for our own destiny.

Yes … some people have a lot more hurdles to overcome than others.  Those hurdles might include medical, environmental, mental or any other kind of challenge.

“Decide carefully, exactly what you want in life.  Then work like mad to make sure you get it.”  Hector Crawford

BUT …

We all have some innate talents.

We all have the ability to improve our talents.

We can all work hard.

We can all choose to adopt a positive attitude.

We can all work through adversity and get stronger.

We can all bring our “A” game every day.

We can all make choices that will improve our lives.

We can all decide that there are no excuses … we WILL achieve our goals.

We can all “suck it up”, accept some pain and discomfort to reach a worthwhile target.

We can all set some goals and put a plan in place to get there.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t you are right!”  Henry Ford

We just have to choose to do it … and apply the self discipline to follow through.

Choose to be a better you.  I don’t know anyone who couldn’t improve something in their lives.

“Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.”  Jim Rohn

It doesn’t matter how old you are.

It doesn’t matter how much money you have or don’t have.

It doesn’t matter how much success you have enjoyed to date … or not.

Everyone can be a better version of themselves … all it takes is a choice, and then the will to make that choice real!

“its not about how badly you want it!  Its about how hard you are going to work to get it!”

——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Advice for Your First Job

Kevin in Royal NavyDo you remember your first job?

I was 16 years old when I joined the Royal Navy and I had no idea what it meant to work for a living. Not that you are given much choice in the forces, you will do the job, you will do it as efficiently as you can … or you catch a whole bunch of grief. Its actually not a bad way to learn about life.

For the new grad coming into the workforce today, they come from an environment where they maybe had to get out of bed before 9am some days, they might even have had the odd day with 6 hours worth of work involved! Now, this crazy new employer wants them at the office at 8:30, wants a FULL day of work and no goofing off before 5pm. What’s up with that?

Well … it is definitely a mind shift. Hopefully it doesn’t take a few jobs before you realise that first job wasn’t really all that bad. They had a decent attitude to fun, they had some nice perks that you hadn’t realised were unique, they were willing to teach you and let you grow.

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”  Stephen Covey

My advice to the first timer in a new job!

1. Take it seriously … do everything as well as you can.

2. Don’t be sucked into the “negative” crowd. Be yourself, and make your own decisions about your level of commitment.

3. Its very easy to stand out … do good work, care about what you do, be cheerful, put in a little extra!

4. Remember that you are going to spend a lot of time on the job, for your whole working career. You can choose to do it with a glass half full attitude or not … either way you are going to be there!

5. Don’t assume anything … ask tons of questions, but use your brain! If you are anyway smart let it come through … without making silly mistakes.

6. Remember the office is not home and your coworkers are not your family … put on your professional face, don’t bring baggage to the office.

7. Don’t look for ways to do less, to get more time off or to work the system … its obvious!

8. Look for the positive in everything!

9. Treat people well … no matter who they are!

10. Walk fast and smile!

“The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”  Vince Lombardi

——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Business Owner? Invest in YOU!

learning quote from Brian HerbertEagle has been working with independent contractors for more than twenty years.  One of the challenges that any business owner faces is in personal development and it is particularly tough for the owner of a one person business.  If “the business” is taking time out for training, then it is not making money  and a second issue is that the business also has to pay for training.

When I started Eagle I had a similar dilemma, how do I continue to learn about running a business and still do my day job.

“Develop a passion for learning.  If you do, you will never cease to grow.”  Anthony J D’Angelo

Here are some ideas:

Read! It seems obvious … but so few people do it! I love the Executive Book Summaries because they are an 8 page (20 minute read) synopsis of some of the greatest business books. A very affordable annual fee lets me download pdf files that I print and read when I have a few minutes between meetings or when I’m traveling! I also subscribe to Harvard Business Review which produces short, very informative and relevant documents that keep me thinking, give me ideas and help me to stay relevant.

Network! I started a small group of fellow CEOs that gathered on a monthly basis to share stories and collectively grow. There are many existing groups that provide the same experience.  Over the years I have belonged to numerous such groups .. including the group of CEOs who ride motorcycles!  If you are an independent contractor why not start your own networking group?

Online Training.   In recent years there has been an explosion of available, and free or very affordable, training online.  Sites such as Coursera and others like it have great training in a plethora of subjects.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”  John F Kennedy

My advice to any business owner, particularly the independent operator …invest a little in yourself and you differentiate from almost everyone else!

——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Facts or Bias?

Don't believe all you read on the internetDo you believe everything you read?

“Of course not!”  you say.

How do you determine what to believe?

That is a tougher question … because almost every message we receive has some kind of bias.

Coke, of course, is better than Pepsi … unless you are a Pepsi drinker, and feel the opposite.

All the bad news about Donald Trump is of course true … unless you subscribe to the opposing points of view.

The point is that the person or organisation writing the message has an opinion, and most often that opinion comes through loud and clear.

“I maintain a  balanced view of the world, but that balance is always in my favor.”  Mark Lawrence

If you sell Fords then there are many reasons why Fords are the answer.

If you are left wing in your views then right of center views are all wrong.

The list goes on.

If you have a decision to make, then you are best served by understanding the situation impartially.

So .. how do we get a balanced view?

  1.  Decide if you care to know the facts or if it really isn’t that important to you.
  2. Read opposing perspectives.
  3. Talk to people with opposing viewpoints. and
  4. Apply your own convictions, common sense and intelligence to the data that you are fed.

Your opinion is your opinion.  Your perception is your perception.  Do not confuse them with facts or truths.

Read news sources that offer both left wing and right wing perspectives.

If an article extols the virtues of solution “A” versus solution “B” then find more articles on the subject.

If there are independent organisations that cover the situation get their input … consumer reports, Gartner, Ipsos etc.  (But recognise even those authors will have some personal bias).

At the end of the day you need to make decisions based on the information you have.  The better information you have the better decisions you can make.

So …. don’t believe everything you read, especially if it is from one source!

Follow your heart but take your brain with you!

——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

 

Business Relationships

Trust Sales quote from Zig ZiglarBusiness relationships are just like any other relationships … they need to be nurtured, they need investment and they need a level of commitment.

Clients WILL buy from people they trust, and you do not achieve trust without establishing some kind of relationship.

In almost any business relationship there will come times of stress … where the parties need to fix something, or renegotiate something or have tough conversations.  These situations are always easier if there is a good relationship and a level of trust.

Salespeople and business owners work hard to develop these business relationships and clients invest their time and energy in them too.  There are many ways that they evolve and grow, but here are some ideas:

  1.  Make promises and always deliver (over deliver if at all possible).  This does not have to be hard it could be as simple as committing to send an interesting article by the weekend and doing it the minute you get back to your desk (but never forgetting to send it)!
  2. Meet face to face.  The phone is good, email is a good way to share some stuff but face to face is how you get to know people and they get to know you.
  3. Be truly interested in the other person.
  4. Find ways to bring additional value.  Share interesting articles, data, information, market knowledge for example.
  5. Have regular contact … without wasting anyone’s time.  (Touching base is a lazy approach … you should have a valid business reason, and ideally an agenda for a to meeting!)
  6. Never waste their time.
  7. Be positive … keep your own negatives to yourself!
  8. Listen more than you talk.
  9. All large client organisations have valid governance concerns about undue influence of their buyers, so be mindful of these.
  10. It always helps a relationship to have some meetings under more informal settings.  Breakfast, lunch, coffee, drinks after work or even a game of golf (even though I hate golf) can help people get to know each other better.  (Be mindful of #9 above).

Every business relationship will hit a bump in the road at some point, and if you don’t have a relationship built on trust and credibility, beyond the terms of a contract then that bump may feel like a mountain!

“The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection.”  Robin Sharma

Invest in those business relationships!

——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

February 2017 Tech News

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for February 2017. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Februarys …

Five years ago, February 2012 was not a blockbuster month for M&A, but there was some interesting activity.  The biggest deal of the month saw Oracle pay $1.9 billion for talent management company Taleo.  Siemens Canada paid $440 million for networking equipment company Rugged.com.  IBM bought BYOD company Worklight; Dell bought backup and recovery company AppAssure; Apple bought mobile search company Chomp; dell logoand LM Ericsson bought Ottawa based BelAir Networks.   Four years ago in February 2013 Dell went private in a $24.4 billion deal that included a $2 billion investment by Microsoft.  Oracle paid $1.7 billion for networking company Acme Packet Inc.; Rackspace bought big data company ObjectRocket; Telus was busy with two acquisitions, electronic medical records division of the Canadian Medical Association and digital forensics company Digital Wyzdom; HP also sold the Palm operating system to LG for their smart TVs.  February 2014 was busy in M&A. Facebook make a big move with the $16 billion Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseacquisition of Whatsapp.  Comcast made a $45 billion play for Time Warner Cable and regulatory approval or otherwise is imminent; Oracle paid a reputed $400 million for data management platform company Bluekai; LinkedIn paid $120 million for online job search company Bright; and Klout was bought for about $100 million by Lithium Technologies.  Google made a couple of acquisitions, online fraud company Spider.io and secure logon company Slicklogin.  IBM bought database as a service company Cloudant; and Monster bought a couple of companies, social profile company Talentbin and job aggregation and distribution technology company Gozaic. Finally, Microsoft announced Steve Balmer’s retirement and appointed a new CEO, Satya Nadella.  February 2015 saw some interesting activity.  The $6.3 billion merger of Staples and Office Depot and the $1.6 Billion purchase of Orbitz by Expedia are two examples of sectors experiencing massive consolidation.  There was a big buy in the communications and IT space with Harris paying Microsoft logo$4,75 billion for Excelis to establish a 23,000 person company.  There was a big data center play with UK based Telecity Group paying $2.2 billion for Interxion Holdings.  Microsoft made a couple of acquisitions, paying $200 million for pen-tech maker N-Trig and $100 million for mobile calendar company Sunrise.  Samsung bought a mobile payment company (competing with Apple pay), LoopPay.  Also out buying was Twitter which picked up Niche, a network of social media creators.  There were a number of interesting deals in Asia, including Sapdeal buying luxury fashion estore Exclusively; Foodpanda made six acquisitions of online meal delivery services to establish itself as a powerhouse in that space.  Showing some forethought Australian job board OneShift has bought Adage, which is a job board serving people over 45.  Last year in February 2016 the biggest deal saw HNA Group of China pay $6 billion for Ingram Micro.  Two other billion dollar deals Cisco logoincluded Cisco paying $1.4 billion for IoT company, Jasper Technologies and a consortium of Chinese internet firms making a $1.2 billion bid for Opera. Microsoft was busy with a couple of acquisitions, Xamarin a cross platform mobile application development company, and Swiftkey which produces predictive keyboard technology.  Another busy company was Alibaba Group which was investing in a bunch of companies, including a $100 million investment in Groupon, and smaller investments in microblogging site Weibo; software company Momo; augmented reality startup Magic Leap; Chinese retail chain Suning; and Singapore telco SingPost.  Other companies of note out buying included IBM who bought digital agency Aperto and Blackberry acquired cybersecurity company Encription.

Which brings us back to the present …

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itFebruary 2017 saw very little M&A action.  Nokia paid $371 million for Finnish telecom software company Comptel, as it reinvents itself, and Apple picked up an AI startup company RealFace.    Another company in the news, but for the wrong reasons was Samsung which is in the middle of a significant bribery scandal.

On the economic front there were a lot of positive indicators out of the US, including adding another 246,000 jobs.  Canada also added 48,000 jobs in January which followed a good December in job creation.  Around the world, the UK is starting to see some labour impacts from the Brexit decision as EU nationals are not applying for jobs they used to do.  Brazil reached a record high in unemployment, in India hiring activity declined and in China there is expected to be a boom in hiring.

Perhaps more interesting this month than the M&A activity, or lack thereof, were some other tidbits of news.

The Irish government have an Action Plan for Jobs that is ahead of plan as of 2016 and is looking to create 200,000 net new jobs by 2020.  Maybe Canada could take a look at an interesting program like this!

An Ipsos survey suggests that Canadians are spending more time on mobile apps than ever, which might explain why everyone you see walking along the street has their face buried in their phone!

Another survey suggests that within the last year 60% of small businesses were the victims of cyberattack!

Finally, another study suggests that global gender diversity is moving, albeit slowly, and at this rate it will take another 20 years to hit parity!

That is it for my monthly look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years.  I’ll be back in about a month’s time, until then … walk fast and smile!

——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Apologies

How to apologiseWe all make mistakes.

We don’t always own our mistakes.

Whether it is pride or hubris, embarrassment or just avoidance … we will avoid owning up to our mistakes.

It is a pity really, because along with mistakes comes a great opportunity to strengthen a relationship.

This applies equally at work or at home!

Some of the best client relationships come from tough situations handled well.

You will often hear that couples will tolerate arguments because the “making up” can be so good!

So if you erred … apologise, own it AND find a way to make it right!

——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

 

Customer Expectations

Take care of your customer by Bob HooeyEvery customer has their own expectations in a given situation.  The best companies will help to set those expectations based upon their product or service … and will meet or exceed expectations in order to provide a satisfying experience.

Expectations can be reasonable or unreasonable heading into the sales situation … but through the sales process those expectations should be “reset” to reflect reality, and managed such that the experience is good.

“Customers may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

A recent example.  We rented a home in Florida for the month of February.  Renting a place over the internet is an improving experience, but there is always some trepidation.  We researched and modified our expectations based upon availability, and listed prices … and we tried to mitigate potential problems by booking well in advance.

So … four months ago we booked Sur La Mer, in Vero Beach.  We paid a 50% deposit and in the ensuing months planned our stay.  In particular we arranged with various family members and friends to visit with us during that month.

All looked good.

In January, we paid the remaining 50% and set about preparing for our trip, making sure we brought along everything we might need.

A week later (more than four months after reserving the place) we received an email … I was recently informed by the owner of Sur La Mer that the house … will not be available to rent.

No explanation and no real apology beyond … “I apologize as this matter is out of my control.”

Anyone who books a holiday home has a nagging concern that the property might become unavailable … but the expectation is that once it is booked and a deposit paid, it should be OK.

Apparently not!

We did  get our money back … but they had a significant amount of our money for four months plus we incurred costs (wire transfer fees twice).  The result was that we ended up out of pocket by $80 plus whatever the interest on our money had been worth.  Just to add insult to injury.

A good apologyAnd still no real apology.

We scrambled and found our own replacement because the agent could not find a suitable place … but ended up paying a significant amount more in order to be in that location on the dates we had planned for.

I thought it would not be unreasonable to write a review on the places where this home shows for rent.  I could share our experience and warn others that the owner is quite comfortable canceling at the last minute, without explanation and obviously did not feel an apology was necessary.

I tried to review the home on the site through which we rented, Florida Luxury Rentals.  Their site did not allow reviews … interesting customer service idea.  Guess we won’t use those guys again.

I tried to write a review on VRBO which also advertises this house.  Their policy is that if you did not stay there then you can’t review it!  I tried to explain that cancellations especially under these conditions are a major cause of concern to renters … but they couldn’t help.   So be warned if you are using VRBO you have no way of knowing the willingness of the landlord to cancel at the last minute.

I tried to send the review into Tripadvisor but they too have a policy that excludes reviews unless you have stayed there.  SO again, be warned that Tripadisor gives no indication if a landlord has a history of cancelling!

“The single most important thing is to make people happy. If you are making people happy, as a side effect, they will be happy to open up their wallets and pay you.”  Derek Silvers

I started the article talking about client expectations … and hijacked it with an example that shows how difficult it is to know, as a client, what your expectations should even be.   We ended up “burned” by a poor landlord and dissatisfied with our ability to provide feedback (a reasonable expectation).

Companies that want satisfied customers need to manage those expectations correctly or they will get the kind of negative exposure they deserve.

——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

 

Nobody Has ALL the Answers!

Mark Twain on Lifelong learningWe have all met them.

“Leaders” who have all the answers.

They have the “experience” … maybe they have “credentials” … perhaps they “read a lot”.

For whatever reason, they believe that they already know the answers.

They MIGHT ask your opinion … but we know they don’t really want to hear it.

More often than not they don’t even ask your opinion.

“A man who asks is a fool for five minutes. A man who never asks is a fool for life.” Chinese proverb

Here is the deal.

The BEST leaders listen to any good ideas.

They KNOW that they always have more to learn and they WANT to learn.

They take all and any input so that they can come up with informed decisions.

They hire people that are better than them!

They are willing to share their knowledge readily, but in a constructive way.

They want their people to learn … but they also want to learn from their people.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”      Alvin Toffler

Some thoughts …

What was relevant yesterday soon becomes obsolete.

What worked yesterday may not work today

Other people also have experiences.

You are very likely NOT the smartest person in the room.

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”   Jiddu Krishnamurti

I don’t care how smart you are, how experienced you are, or how much education you have  …  you can always learn more!

——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

 

January 2017 Tech News

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for January 2017. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Januarys …

Five years ago, in January 2012 things were very quiet in M&A – former tech giant JDSU was back on the acquisition trail, even if just to pick up a small Vancouver based company, Dyaptive Systems.  Symantec paid $115 million for LiveOffice to help with its storage capabilities, Google bought a bunch more IBM patents, and Xerox picked up Laser Networks in the managed printing space.  Rim (now Blackberry) also announced a change in leadership.  Three years ago, in January 2013 Cisco bought mobile network software company Intucell for $475 million and sold its Linksys division to Belkin.  The biggest dollar value deal was AT&T’s purchase of some of Verison Wireless’s airwaves for $1.9 Billion.  Other deals saw NCR buy video software ASTM company uGenius Technology; Canon Canada acquired long-time partner and document management company Oce Canada; NetSuite bought retail management systems company Retail Anywhere; and AVI-SPL bought Duocom-Duologik.  January 2014 was an interesting month with a few big M&A deals.  Google was an especially busy player, selling its Motorola Mobility handset unit to Lenovo for $2.9 billion but paying $3.2 billion for Nest Labs and the company also bought Bitspin.  The other big deal saw VMware pay $1.17 billion for mobile device management company AirWatch.  Other big names on the acquisition trail included Oracle who bought cloud based service delivery company Corente; Microsoft paid a reputed $100 million for cloud based service company (seems to be a theme) Parature; Ricoh purchased IT service company Mindshift from BestBuy; and Hootsuite bought analytics company Yahoo logouberVu. In January 2015, the biggest deal was Hutchison offering more than $14 billion for O2. Other big dollar news saw Yahoo looking like it might be remaking itself, spinning off its $40 Billion stake in Alibaba to become smaller, leaner and either buy or be bought!  The final M&A activity involving a “B” was Telco equipment company Commscope offering $3 billion for TE Connectivities network business.  There were also a number of very well-known companies out buying, and in no particular order … Amazon paid something like $300 million (approximate) for chip designer Annapurna Labs; Expedia bought its online travel competitor Travelocity for $200 million; Samsung paid $100 million for Brazil’s largest print company Simpress; Google paid about $100 million for mobile payments company Softcard; Facebook bought Wit.ai a company that has a Siri like Dropbox logosolution that can be embedded in other products; Dropbox bought CloudOn a document editing and productivity tools company; Twitter paid somewhere between $30 million and $40 million for Zipdial, an Indian company that does some funky marketing thing with phone hang ups; and finally Microsoft made two acquisitions, startup text analytics company Equivo and in a departure from its history it bought open software company Revolution Analytics. There were no huge deals in January 2016, but there was plenty of activity with some of the household names out shopping.  IBM bought video service provider Ustream; Microsoft bought game form learning tool MinecraftEdu; Apple bought “emotion recognition” company Emotient; and Oracle bought media web tracking firm AddThis.  Toshiba bought an ERP solutions company Ignify, and a number of smaller deals included Juniper Networks buying BTISystems Inc.; FireEye bought iSight partners; Acceo Solutions bought Groupe Techna and SmartPrint bought LaserCorp’s Toronto based managed print services business.

Which brings us back to the present…

Cisco logoIn January 2017 the multi-billion-dollar deal of the month was Cisco’s purchase of app performance management company, AppDynamics for $3.7 billion. HP Enterprise purchased data center hardware provider, SimpliVity for $650 million. Microsoft acquired Montreal-based deep learning start-up Maluuba for an undisclosed sum. Google has announced plans to purchase Twitter’s mobile developer platform Fabric. Trello, the startup behind a leading task-management app has been purchased by Atlassian for $425 million. CRM giant, Salesforce bought Unity&Variety to enhance its productivity app service Quip Managed Service Provider of data and database administration, Datavail, acquired Canadian IT channel leader Navantis.

IBM logoSome non-M&A news in January included IBM announcing it broke the US record for number of patents granted in a single year – 8,088 to be exact. Avaya Inc. announced it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a result of accumulating debt from their major acquisitions in the last ten years. According to a report released by Gartner Inc. 2016 saw a decrease in the shipment of PCs, the lowest it has been since 2007.     

That’s my look at the tech news for January 2017.  Until next month, walk fast and smile!

——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————